Maturity of the medium

This is just a quick smattering of a few quotes about the maturation of various media.

Aristotle, while explaining the history of various forms of drama in Poetics, notes some two centuries after the theorised first performance of a tragic play,

This is not the place for a detailed investigation of whether of not tragedy is now sufficiently developed with respect to its formal constituents […]. But originally it developed from impovisations. […] Then tragedy was gradually enhanced as people developed each new aspect of it that came to light. After undergoing many transformations, tragedy has come to rest, because it has attained its natural state (8; 3.3).

Janet Murray mentions of the development of the novel from the first use of the printing press in Hamlet on the Holodeck,

It took fifty years of experiementation and more to establish such conventions as legible typefaces and proof sheet corrections; page numbering  and paragraphing; and title pages, prefaces and chapter divisions, which together made the published book a coherent means of communication (28).

In his essay, Narrative Spaces in the book Space Time Play, Henry Jenkins reflects on game developers,

As inexperienced storytellers, they often fall back on rather mechanical exposition through cut scenes, much as early film makers were often overly reliant on intertitles because they had not yet mastered he skills of visual storytelling. Yet, as in any other aesthetic tradition, game designers are apt to develop their craft through a process of experimentation and refinement of basic narrative experiences without unduly constraining the space for improvisation within their games (58).

We can be tempted to take for granted what we “expect” of different media, living happily with a sense of it always being so; this is natural, but we must make sure that we do not let that same expectation apply to the developing medium of interactive electronic media. We need to ensure that we feel confident to explore and try new things, to draw influence from other media and yet not be confined to prexisting ways of thinking or designing.

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